Online Reviews, and Why They’re Important to Your Practice.
Every review matters, even the negative ones. In 2019, many consumers will look to online reviews before they ever step foot inside a place of business. They will rely on the experience of others to influence decisions for themselves. This is true with restaurants, hotels, and yes, medical practices. With the endless amount of information available on the internet your potential clients will not want to go in blindly to get their hearing tested or buy hearing aids. They want to know they will have a positive experience, and they will get that information from the reviews of your practice by others.
When something negative happens people will rush to Google, Yelp or Facebook to explain their experience. It is the positive reviews that are hard to come by. Rarely will people have a positive experience and take the time to write about it in a review. Our suggestion would be to ask customers to leave a review as they are checking out. Give them a computer or tablet to be able to do it in office. Offer an incentive for them to leave a review (gift card, promotional items, discount on a purchase). You can also gather reviews via the survey approach. Send an occasional survey to your current customers and ask about their experience. The key is to give them plenty of options and make it extremely easy for them to leave a review. If your practice shows up online with a lot of reviews, new business will go up. When negative reviews happen, make sure you are responding to the problem, and apologizing for the experience. This shows consumers you are aware of the issue and are working to fix it.
“After great customer service, your best line of defense is to make sure your good reviews outweigh the bad. As the New York Times piece pointed out – most reasonable people are going to discount the gushing, positive accolades and the scathing negative customer who expects you to give him or her the moon” (McCue)
In an article by Forbes it is stated that 90% of consumers claim that reading a positive review online influenced their buying decision. 85% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses.
After a customer receives your direct mail advertisement, or sees a social media ad, chances are they are going to Google your practice. If your practice is not investing in some kind of online reputation management, you are ignoring what is most often the first impression a potential customer has with your brand. It is a good idea to read your reviews from a consumer’s perspective. Think “If I needed hearing aids, would I attend this practice?”
Google also uses reviews to influence searches in your area. The criteria Google uses:
- Number of recent reviews
- Total volume of reviews
- Average star rating
Your practices marketing efforts should not be an all eggs in one basket situation. You should have a marketing mix filled with direct mail, social media, email marketing, SEO, and online reviews. With all of these individual tasks working together, you will sell more hearing aids, and grow your business.